Pat Robertson: liberal judges worse than 9/11 terrorists

SOURCE: BEN BRANDZEL, MoveOn PAC 4 May 2005 - 9:00pm

Emailed from on 4 May 2005

On Sunday morning, Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson told TV viewers nation-wide that the threat posed by liberal judges is "probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings." When an incredulous George Stephanopoulos asked if Robertson really believed that these judges posed "the most serious threat America has faced in nearly 400 years of history, more serious than al Qaeda, more serious than Nazi Germany and Japan, more serious than the Civil War?," he responded, "George, I really believe that." [1]

These comments were not made in isolation. In fact, Robertson's statement is only the most outrageous example of a growing effort from the extreme right to whip up an intense fear and hatred of American judges — including comments from Republican congressmen and senators intimidating, threatening and even justifying outright violence against judges. [2] The strategy is designed to build support for the Republican "nuclear" scheme to break the rules and stack the courts — and it is poisonous to our democracy. It must stop here.

That's why we are launching a national petition demanding that Bill Frist and Tom DeLay publicly reject Robertson's statement. If they do, it will send a clear signal that this type of dangerous incitement against officers of the law is not welcome in our democracy. And if they don't, it will send an equally clear signal about how far they are willing to go.

Please sign today:

We're simultaneously launching a new TV ad — if you contribute today we can put it on the air tomorrow in Washington D.C. and in Bill Frist and Tom DeLay's home districts — bringing our message directly to their doorstep.
The TV spot — which we put together overnight — simply quotes Robertson attacking American judges while mocking the September 11 tragedy and asks if Bill Frist and Tom DeLay will do the right thing and reject these outrageous comments. The ad will get our message out on the airwaves, and give the news media another chance to give this scandal the coverage it deserves. If we combine the new ad with a successful petition drive, we can have a huge impact. We'll deliver the petition to Frist's office as soon as he's back in Washington next week, and he won't be able to miss the ad.

You can view the new ad and help put it on the air here:

Former Vice-President Al Gore summarized this disturbing strategy of judicial hate mongering in a recent address to MoveOn members. Here are some of the incidents he covered:

The Republican leader of the House of Representatives responded to rulings in the Terri Schiavo case, by saying ominously: "The time will come for the men responsible for this to pay for their behavior." [3]

In previous remarks on the subject, DeLay has said, "Judges need to be intimidated," adding that if they don't behave, "we're going to go after them in a big way." [4]

A Republican Senator from Texas directly connected the "spate of courthouse violence lately" to his view that unpopular decisions might be the explanation. "I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions, yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds and builds to the point where some people engage in violence." [5]

The Chief of Staff for another Republican senator called for "mass impeachment" by using the bizarre right-wing theory that the president can declare that any judge is no longer exhibiting "good behavior," adding that, "then the judge's term has simply come to an end. The President gives them a call and says: Clean out your desk. The Capitol police will be in to help you find your way home.'" [6]

Tony Perkins, leader of the Family Research Council, who hosted a speech by the Senate Majority Leader last Sunday has said, "There's more than one way to skin a cat, and there's more than one way to take a black robe off the bench." [7]

James Dobson who heads Focus on the Family focused his anger on the 9th circuit court of appeals: "Very few people know this, that the Congress can simply disenfranchise a court. They don't have to fire anybody or impeach them or go through that battle. All they have to do is say the 9th circuit doesn't exist anymore, and it's gone." [8]

Edwin Vieira (at the "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith" conference) said his "bottom line" for dealing with the Supreme Court comes from Stalin: "He had a slogan, and it worked very well for him whenever he ran into difficulty: 'no man, no problem.'" [9]
This pattern of intimidation against America's judges is scary and deeply un-American. It will continue to worsen as long as leaders like Frist and DeLay think their side can score political points by pandering to the fringe and embracing hate speech. When Pat Robertson goes on national television to say that American judges are a worse threat than the Civil War, the Nazis and Al Qaeda, they must know their reckless game has crossed the line.

It's time to put our democracy before any party's quest for power — and it begins by rejecting Pat Robertson.

Please sign today.